State Rep. Pushes To Stop Eversource Purchase of Aquarion Water

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PUC Notice of Aquisition

State Rep. Mindi Messmer is circulating a last-minute petition to intervene in the state Public Utilities Commission proceedings relative to the sale of Aquarion Water to Eversource Energy.

The Rye Democrat says the petition must be signed and submitted to the PUC by Tuesday. Aquarion serves about 9,500 customers in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye.

“EverSource is set to take over our water now too! They already own our electric and gas. Sign by Monday to compel PUC to have a public hearing. Protect our water!” Messmer wrote on a Facebook posting.

In an email, Messmer said: “I am also concerned that PFC contamination of the wells they use to serve Hampton that are located in North Hampton are related to migration from Coakley Landfill Superfund Site. There are documented cases of cancer which resulted in public water being brought to areas of North Hampton in 1986 which was related to Coakley contamination.….”

Messages left for spokesmen for Eversource and Aquarion were not immediately returned.

According to the PUC order of notice signed last month, the filing raises two legal issues in New Hampshire. One provides that the approval of the PUC for the acquisition shall not be required if the companies demonstrate “that the transaction will not adversely affect rates, terms, service, or operation of the public utility within this state.”

It also involves RSA 374:33 which provides that no public utility or utility holding company shall directly or indirectly acquire more than 10 percent or more of the stocks or bonds of any other public utility or utility holding company doing business in this state “unless the commission finds that such acquisition is lawful, proper and in the public interest.”

Any party seeking to intervene must submit seven copies of a petition to intervene with copies sent to Eversource, Aquarion and the Office of the Consumer Advocate by Tuesday, according to the PUC order.

There will be a prehearing conference at the PUC at 21 S. Fruit St. in Concord on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

According to an Eversource Energy news release in June, the acquisition will combine New England’s largest energy company with the region’s largest private water company.

Eversource said it reached an agreement to acquire Aquarion Water Company for an enterprise value of $1.675 billion, comprised of $880 million in cash and $795 million of assumed Aquarion debt.

“This transaction combines two companies that are leaders in providing the critical infrastructure New England residents and businesses need to grow and thrive,” said Jim Judge, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Eversource in the news release. “Both companies’ dedicated employees work relentlessly to put customers first, and that commitment to reliability and customer service will remain paramount.”

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